This morning a Cobb County Magistrate judge issued misdemeanor warrants for Cobb County School District bus driver, Richard Tebbens, for simple assault and simple battery against a 10-year-old student.
The incident occurred on November 14, 2019. According to the sworn testimony during the warrant issuance hearing on May 10, 2020, Richard Tebbens, a bus driver employed by the Cobb County School District stopped the bus he was driving. He then went to the back of the bus, grabbed a 10 year old child by the collar of his shirt and then forcefully gripped the child’s face and head with his hand and turned the child’s head. Following the November 14, 2019 incident, the minor underwent a trauma analysis and was recommended for therapy.
The father of the child, Justan Mosely, has been fighting for nearly two years for Cobb County School District officials to hold the driver accountable. The driver continued to drive for the school district after the assault. After he was unable to resolve the matter on his own, Mr. Mosely hired legal counsel to assist him in his fight for justice for his son.
“I never felt like the school or the school district cared about my son and what happened to him. They never called and checked on his well-being. It felt like they were doing everything in their power to support the driver.” – Justan Mosely
The driver was represented by one of Atlanta’s largest and most powerful law firms, Nelson Mullins.
“I was astonished to see the Cobb County School District hire an attorney to represent an employee in a criminal matter. In nearly 20 years of practicing, I have never seen a district do this. I didn’t even realize a firm of Nelson Mullins’ status handled misdemeanors. In criminal matters involving district employees and students most school districts remain neutral and just let the courts decide,” said Mawuli Davis, Davis Bozeman Law, attorney for the family.
After the judge’s ruling, Justan Mosely, the child’s father, went into the hallway outside the courtroom and began to cry.
“It took so much for us to get to this point of accountability and I promised my son I would protect him, so it’s all been emotional. I do wonder if the races were reversed if it would have been this hard,” said Justan Mosely.
Richard Tebbens, the school bus driver, is White and the child is Black.
“Quite frankly, I am left with very few explanations as to why this has been handled in this manner by the School District. What we know about institutional and structural racism is that Black children are disproportionately negatively impacted and are left unprotected by systems created to protect all children. It’s difficult for me to fathom a scenario where a Black bus driver grabs and assaults a 10 year White child and there are not immediate and severe consequences,” said Davis.
Richard Tebbens is required to turn himself into the Cobb County jail today by 7 p.m